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History of NYC - 1850s

By the 1850s, New York City’s ports handled more goods and people than all other American ports combined. In 1855, Fernando Wood was elected as the first mayor.

1850: Bird's Eye View of Lower Manhattan

An aerial perspective above Manhattan, showing the rapid change of the city's shore, skyline and developing landscape.

1850: Busy Scene at The South Street Seaport

Artist's rendering of The South Street Seaport, the first pier in the area was occupied in 1625 by the Dutch West India Company.

1850: Bowling Green Park

New York's oldest public park (formerly, there was a turf present for playing lawn bowling) which is also surrounded by the oldest fence in City.

1855: City Hall, Manhattan

A photograph of Manhattan's City Hall. Taken by A.R. Waud in the winter of 1855.

1858: Looking South from Chatham Square

Lithograph illustration of Chatham Square, named after William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham and Prime Minister of Great Britain before the American Revolution.

1857: Jefferson Market at 6th Avenue

An illustrative engraving of the original Market on 6th Avenue.

1850: The Croton Reservoir

Painting of the Croton Reservoir at 42nd Street. Completed in 1842, it was the source of the city's drinking water until its demolition in the 1890s.

1855: George Washington Monument at Union Square

A group gathered around the newly constructed monument of George Washington in Union Square, dedicated in 1856 the the oldest sculpture in any NYC Park.

1850: Grace Church

Photograph of Broadway, looking north towards A.T. Stewart's Building and Grace Church.

1855: Broadway and Vesey Street Looking South

Watercolor Illustration of Broadway and Vesey Street Looking South.

1850: Open Air Clothing Market in New York City

Photograph of an open air clothing market beneath the train tracks in New York City. Taken by A.R.Waud in 1850

1855: Broadway and Broome Street

The East side of Broadway and Broome Street looking North, capturing the hum and activity of downtown Manhattan during a cold winter.

1855: Brownstones on Fifth Avenue

View of a residential neighborhood along New York's Fifth Avenue. Rows of single-family brownstones with grand front stoops line the wide corridor.

1855: St. Germain Hotel on Fifth Avenue

A view of the St. Germain Hotel on the North East Corner of 5th Avenue between 22nd and 23rd Streets (future site of The Flatiron Building).

1855: The Palisades, Hudson River and Yonkers

A view overlooking the Palisades, Hudson and Yonkers dockyard with railroad tracks which ran parallel to the Hudson River. Taken by Silas A. Holmes in 1855.

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